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The COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the fragility of food sovereignty in cities and confirmed the close connection urban dwellers have with food. Although the pandemic was not responsible for a systemic failure, it suggested how citizens would accept and indeed support a transition toward more localized food production systems. As this attitudinal shift is aligned with the sustainability literature, this work aims to explore the tools and actions needed for a policy framework transformation that recognizes the multiple benefits of food systems, while considering local needs and circumstances. This perspective paper reviews the trends in production and consumption, and systematizes several impacts emerged across European food systems in response to the first wave of pandemic emergency, with the final aim of identifying challenges and future strategies for research and innovation toward the creation of resilient and sustainable city/region food systems. The proposal does not support a return to traditional small-scale economies that might not cope with the growing global population. It instead stands to reconstruct and upscale such connections using a “think globally act locally” mind-set, engaging local communities, and making existing and future citizen-led food system initiatives more sustainable. The work outlines a set of recommended actions for policy-makers: support innovative and localized food production, training and use of information and communication technology for food production and distribution; promote cross-pollination among city/region food systems; empower schools as agents of change in food provision and education about food systems; and support the development of assessment methodologies and the application of policy tools to ensure that the different sustainability dimensions of the food chain are considered.
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published: 09 March 2021
doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.642787
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems | 1March 2021 | Volume 5 | Article 642787
Edited by:
Andrea Pieroni,
University of Gastronomic
Sciences, Italy
Reviewed by:
Renata Sõukand,
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Cornelia Butler Flora,
Iowa State University, United States
Fabio De Menna
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Social Movements, Institutions and
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Received: 16 December 2020
Accepted: 12 February 2021
Published: 09 March 2021
Vittuari M, Bazzocchi G, Blasioli S,
Cirone F, Maggio A, Orsini F, Penca J,
Petruzzelli M, Specht K, Amghar S,
Atanasov A-M, Bastia T, Bertocchi I,
Coudard A, Crepaldi A, Curtis A,
Fox-Kämper R, Gheorghica AE,
Lelièvre A, Muñoz P, Nolde E,
Pascual-Fernández J, Pennisi G,
Pölling B, Reynaud-Desmet L,
Righini I, Rouphael Y, Saint-Ges V,
Samoggia A, Shaystej S, da Silva M,
Toboso Chavero S, Tonini P,
Trušnovec G, Vidmar BL, Villalba G
and De Menna F (2021) Envisioning
the Future of European Food
Systems: Approaches and Research
Priorities After COVID-19.
Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 5:642787.
doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.642787
Envisioning the Future of European
Food Systems: Approaches and
Research Priorities After COVID-19
Matteo Vittuari 1, Giovanni Bazzocchi 1, Sonia Blasioli 1, Francesco Cirone 1,
Albino Maggio 2, Francesco Orsini 1, Jerneja Penca 3, Mara Petruzzelli 1, Kathrin Specht 4,
Samir Amghar 5, Aleksandar-Mihail Atanasov6, Teresa Bastia 7, Inti Bertocchi 8,
Antoine Coudard 9, Andrea Crepaldi 10, Adam Curtis 11 , Runrid Fox-Kämper 4,
Anca Elena Gheorghica 12, Agnès Lelièvre 13 , Pere Muñoz 14, Erwin Nolde 15 ,
Josè Pascual-Fernández 16, Giuseppina Pennisi 1, Bernd Pölling 17 ,
Lèlia Reynaud-Desmet 18, Isabella Righini 19 , Youssef Rouphael 2, Vèronique Saint-Ges 20 ,
Antonella Samoggia 1, Shima Shaystej 21, Macu da Silva 22 , Susana Toboso Chavero 23,
Pietro Tonini 23, Gorazd Trušnovec 24, Benjamin L. Vidmar 25, Gara Villalba 23 and
Fabio De Menna 1
1Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, 2University of Naples Federico II,
Naples, Italy, 3Euro-Mediterranean University, Piran, Slovenia, 4Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung
(ILS)—Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dortmund, Germany, 5Gemeente Lansingerland,
Lansigerland, Netherlands, 6Hague Corporate Affairs, The Hague, Netherlands, 7Comune di Naples, Naples, Italy, 8Comune
di Bologna, Bologna, Italy, 9Metabolic Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10 Flytech S.r.l., Belluno, Italy, 11Nabolagshager AS,
Oslo, Norway, 12 Asociatia Mai Bine, Ia ¸si, Romania, 13 AgroParisTech—Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de
l’environnement, Paris, France, 14 Ajuntament de Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain, 15 Nolde and Partner, Berlin, Germany,
16 University of La Laguna, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain, 17 South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Iserlohn,
Germany, 18 Commune de Romainville, Romainville, France, 19 Wageningen Plant Research, Wageningen University and
Research, Wageningen, Netherlands, 20 UMR SADAPT, INRAe, Université Paris-Saclay, AgroParisTech, Paris, France,
21 Tåsen Microgreens AS, Oslo, Norway, 22 Organización de Productores de Túnidos y Pesca Fresca de la Isla de
Tenerife—ISLATUNA, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, 23Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 24 Urban
Beekeeping Society, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 25 Polar Permaculture Solutions AS, Longyearbyen, Norway
The COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the fragility of food sovereignty in cities and confirmed
the close connection urban dwellers have with food. Although the pandemic was
not responsible for a systemic failure, it suggested how citizens would accept and
indeed support a transition toward more localized food production systems. As this
attitudinal shift is aligned with the sustainability literature, this work aims to explore the
tools and actions needed for a policy framework transformation that recognizes the
multiple benefits of food systems, while considering local needs and circumstances. This
perspective paper reviews the trends in production and consumption, and systematizes
several impacts emerged across European food systems in response to the first
wave of pandemic emergency, with the final aim of identifying challenges and future
strategies for research and innovation toward the creation of resilient and sustainable
city/region food systems. The proposal does not support a return to traditional small-
scale economies that might not cope with the growing global population. It instead
stands to reconstruct and upscale such connections using a “think globally act locally”
mind-set, engaging local communities, and making existing and future citizen-led food
system initiatives more sustainable. The work outlines a set of recommended actions
for policy-makers: support innovative and localized food production, training and use of
Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
information and communication technology for food production and distribution; promote
cross-pollination among city/region food systems; empower schools as agents of change
in food provision and education about food systems; and support the development of
assessment methodologies and the application of policy tools to ensure that the different
sustainability dimensions of the food chain are considered.
Keywords: city/region food system, SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, sustainable food systems, food initiatives, food
A diffuse concern about food systems’ resilience has grown
throughout Europe in face of the current COVID-19 crisis
(Bakalis et al., 2020). Although scarcity of food was not a real
threat, the crisis increased awareness on the potential exposure
of food systems to new shocks and crises, especially in terms
of food access (Béné, 2020), consumer behavior, small-scale
productions, and alternative food networks (Galanakis, 2020).
The pandemic and the related lockdown measures favored
more formal and consolidated national and global supply
chains, particularly in urban contexts. In fact, localized and
sustainable food production and distribution experiences had to
face additional challenges, such as interruptions in the supply
or demand chains due to the lockdown and the need to
identify new distributions channels (FAO, 2020a,b). Under these
circumstances, a policy framework that takes into consideration
local needs and conditions and recognizes the multiple benefits
associated with localized and sustainable food production and
distribution experiences (Nicholls et al., 2020) becomes more
urgent than ever.
The international sustainability agenda has started to
acknowledge the urgency of this shift, recommending increased
diversity of plant-based foods, reduced consumption of meat,
substantial cuts in food waste, and re-localization of supply
chains (SCBD, 2020). Similarly, the Sustainable Development
Goals Target 2 has mandated countries to ensure sustainable
food production systems and double productivity and incomes
of small-scale food producers (United Nations, 2015).
With reference to urban food systems, after the Global call
for action conference of the World Urban Forum (2014), the
City/Region Food System (CRFS) approach started to gain
increasing attention within the international debate. At that time,
stakeholders were already aware that a territorial and holistic
food system approach was the most suitable way to tackle the
upcoming global challenges.
Afterwards, the CRFS framework was introduced by Jennings
et al. (2015) and defined as: “the complex network of actors,
processes, relationships that has to do with food production,
processing marketing, and consumption in a given geographical
region which includes a more or less concentrated urban center
and its surrounding peri-urban and rural hinterland.”
Other than representing a multidimensional way of action,
the CRFS approach entails two significant innovations. First,
it aims at creating a food governance structure that considers
local circumstances, understanding that cities exist within a
geography and that decisions about food should operate across
the urban-rural continuum. Second, such an outlook recognizes
the ecological, socio-economic, and governance linkages that
characterize food systems. These different dimensions not only
deserve equal attention but are also recognized as mutually
reinforcing (Jennings et al., 2015).
The CRFS has then become a new lens of analysis, paving
the way for a more sustainable, resilient, fair, and healthy food
system worldwide (World Urban Forum, 2014), and can help
today in the identification of innovative solutions to cope with
the aftermaths of the COVID-19 crisis.
This paper builds on the FoodE H2020 project, which sees the
collaboration of 24 partners from eight European countries and
aims to engage local organizations in the design, implementation,
and monitoring of environmentally, economically, and
socially sustainable CRFS. The goal of this paper is to offer
a systematic view of European food systems response to
COVID-19, highlighting the major trends and impacts and
discussing the potential policy implications related to the future
of CRFS.
The work adopted a mixed-method approach integrating a
literature review with the opinion of experts and stakeholders
from a wide range of organizations and European countries.
Starting from the CRFS definition, a literature review was
carried out to identify the most critical food system areas affected
by the COVID-19 pandemic. The literature was systematized
by a mixed method of research based on scientific papers and
materials coming from gray literature. Concerning the peer
review literature, the high number of documents acquired and
revised have been collected through SCOPUS and Web Of
Science. The gray literature review was carried out through
Google Scholar, expert opinions, direct interviews, as well
as daily press in various languages, and blogs. Collected
information was clustered into five food system areas: (1)
agriculture, fisheries, and production systems; (2) innovative
business models for increased resilience and sustainability; and
(3) evolving technologies; (4) consumers behavior changes and
adaptations; and (5) schools and education. For each area a
dedicated working group was created. Working groups were
composed of 4–5 experts belonging to a wide range of food
stakeholders types including universities and research institutes,
small and medium enterprises, non-governmental organizations,
and municipalities.
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Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
TABLE 1 | Involved participants in the stakeholder’s workshop, per country, and
Country Organization Number of
Italy Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di
Comune di Bologna 3
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II 3
Flytech 3
France Institut des Sciences et Industries du
Vivant et de l’Environnement
Institut National de Recherche pour
l’Agriculture, l’alimentation et
Commune de Romainville 2
Germany Fachhochschule Südwestfalen 2
Institut für Landes- und
Stadtentwicklungsforschung gGmbH
Nolde Erwin and Partner 1
Netherlands Hague Corporate Affairs BV 3
Stichting Wageningen Research 2
Norway Gallis Miljø Og Kommunikasjon -
Polar Permaculture Solutions 1
Romania Asocia¸tia Mai Bine 1
Slovenia Arctur Ra ˇ
cunalniški Inženiring 3
Društvo Urbani Cebelar 1
Spain Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona 5
Universidad de La Laguna 1
Total participants 52
The work was organized in three rounds. In the first round
each working group collaborated independently to gather data,
summarize relevant information, and discuss ongoing trends.
The second round was represented by a large workshop engaging
a wider number of stakeholders (Table 1) providing feedbacks
and opinions on each of the five areas. The third round consisted
in an iterative consultation process within the five working
groups with the aim to integrate and review expert inputs.
The joint revision enabled the systematization of the process
and the harmonization of all provided contents. To follow a
food supply chain logic the five groups were then reduced to
three: (1) food production, covering agriculture, fisheries, and
production systems, (2) food distribution, covering innovative
business models for increased resilience and sustainability
and evolving technologies, (3) food consumption, covering
consumers behavior changes and adaptations and schools and
education (EP, 2020) (Figure 1).
The first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak did not lead to a major
disruption of the European food systems, but it shed light on
some specific challenges for each segment of the food chain,
revealing footprints of a shift citizens might wish to embrace. The
subsequent sections outline and discuss the main observed effects
in food production, distribution, and consumption stages.
Food Production
Production suffered from a consistent limitation of transport
lines and a generalized closing of borders. Suddenly, during
the spring season, workers were unable to reach their farms,
making it harder to carry out the harvest, catch and management
of seasonal products. Simultaneously, the compulsory social
distancing and personal protective equipment hampered the
daily work in the fields. Safety measures created difficulties
in production at all stages, especially for those informal
chains where health and safety conditions were already
limited. In these cases, implementing such measures proved
challenging and led to either increased likelihood of infection or
reduced production.
To buffer the labor shortage burdens, a variety of public
and private actors developed apps and online platforms to
match farmers’ demands of seasonal staff and support mitigating
production activities logistical disruptions (Laborde et al., 2020;
Mitaritonna and Ragot, 2020). Despite having a consistent
success, these services could not fully offset the problem, and food
losses remained a major tangible concern (IOM., 2020). Other
than the challenges in the fields, the stocking of products which
could not reach the market at the pre-COVID19 rate, became a
central issue. Only those commercial facilities having extensive
capacity and enough flexibility, were able to transform products
through canning or freezing techniques, while many others were
left with unsold fresh products in the warehouses.
Finally, the shutdown of the Hotellerie-Restaurant-Café
services, which represent a crucial market for many farmers and
small producers, worsened the difficulties, reducing the sales
volumes of many.
Food Distribution
The shift toward online shopping and takeaway consumption,
both for fresh ingredients and ready to eat meals, led to a
structural transformation of small and medium food initiatives,
deeply modifying the customer relationship and sales channels.
For many CRFS, whose major value proposition consists of
the relational connections delivered inside and outside their
organizations, the effects of social distancing measures were
perceived as more severe than those experienced among more
traditional food suppliers (Pulighe and Lupia, 2020). Only, in
some cases, both newcomers and experienced online platforms
developed communication tools that allowed maintaining such
relational dimension.
Workers, but also volunteers, struggled to reach their food
initiatives, creating also in this case a labor shortage (especially
for food delivery) that ultimately resulted in a consistent gap
within the food chain operational structure. Similarly, the logistic
disruption led to inputs shortages (OECD, 2020), which made it
harder to proceed with the business as usual especially for the
initiatives with lower bargaining power (FAO, 2020a).
The shutdown of food and farmers’ markets, together with
restaurants and school canteens, contributed to the failure of
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems | 3March 2021 | Volume 5 | Article 642787
Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
FIGURE 1 | Perspective paper methodological development.
local offer and alternative food networks. Only consolidated
distribution hubs, such as supermarkets and conveniences stores,
remained open at an early stage, reducing the range of choices for
food actors. In some countries, as in the case of Italy, consumers
were encouraged to shop in the nearest store (Gazzetta Ufficiale
della Repubblica Italiana., 2020).
Large retailers were less endangered than specialist and niche
shops, which were often obliged to rely on local governmental
support to overcome structural and technological barriers (FAO,
The closure of the Hotellerie-Restaurant-Café sector also had
additional implications. The sector usually purchases products
with different packaging as compared with home consumers.
Thus, part of the packaged products was no longer marketable,
leading to increased food waste (Petetin, 2020).
Food Consumption
The consumer trends that have emerged during the COVID-19
pandemic represent a major signal of change. From a household
perspective, a typical consumer was motivated to maintain his
or her physical and mental health and had more time available,
while being more cost-conscious due to the uncertain economic
situation (Accenture, 2020). As a result, consumers often adopted
a back-to-basics approach to nutrition, with more home cooking
and baking (Bernstein, 2020; Nielsen, 2020; OCU, 2020). Notably,
citizens also stockpiled non-perishable goods, such as canned
food, tomato sauce, pasta, flour, and yeast (OCU, 2020; Rogers,
Meanwhile, an increased sensitivity toward food
sustainability, healthier diets, and an effort to establish
stronger bonds with the origin of food emerged (Cohen,
2020; Rodríguez-Pérez et al., 2020). As an example, higher
attention was given to ingredients selection, recipes scouting,
and online cooking classes.
A surge in demand for short-supply chains and home delivery
options, often supported by digital solutions, was observed
in many countries (Hobbs, 2020). Local small-scale suppliers
received larger attention by consumers since they were associated
with higher safety standards and better food quality (Rizou et al.,
2020). In some cases, the consumers’ demand on online delivery
channels consistently far exceeded the available distribution
capacities (Hobbs, 2020; Nielsen, 2020).
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Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
With regards to food waste, the preliminary evidence provided
by large national surveys (Roberts and Downing, 2020; Waste
Watcher, 2020) confirmed a reduction of household food waste
thanks to more time for in-home food management and cooking
and a better planning for grocery shopping.
Despite observing several positive trends, vulnerable groups
faced severe barriers in food consumption during the lockdown.
Primarily, the shutdown of school canteens affected food security
and habits for entire families. According to the United Nations,
World Food Programme (2020), about 320 million children saw
their schools temporarily closing due to COVID-19.
Pre-COVID-19 policies in European school canteens enabled
to offer high-quality food, with relevant positive effects on pupils’
dietary intake (Clinton-McHarg et al., 2018; Micha et al., 2018).
Consequently, the lockdown measures likely put poorer children
under nutritional stress, since the school meal might represent
their only adequate food intake (Dunn et al., 2020). This effect
was further aggravated by the difficulties of food banks, which
experienced a drop in financial resources and a shortage of
volunteers (FEBA, 2020).
Impacts on Food System
Due to the exogenous nature of this shock, the COVID-
19 provoked a series of new behavioral shifts. Changes were
quite unpredictable, leading to layered environmental, economic,
governmental, and social impacts. As analyzed, observed
adjustments immediately shaped consumption and production
habits leading to new supply chain patterns. Depending on the
governmental attitudes and capabilities, some of the rapidly
emerging trends along the entire supply chain are probably
destined to have a temporary nature. Others are likely to have
longer-term implications.
Thanks to specific policy interventions detrimental reactions
that have not shown to improve European food systems,
should succeed in remaining short-term and limited to the
emergency period, while beneficial shifts should be framed to
guarantee their long-term viability. The results from such an
uncertain and challenging period will depend on the diffused
ability to correctly manage these positive and negative impacts
cycles as described in Figure 2. The extent to which these
mutual cycles will be reiterated will determine whether more
resilient and sustainable food systems will emerge from the
COVID-19 crisis.
Short-Term Impacts
Short-term impacts emerged clearly. For instance, the negative
impact of social distancing measures that prevented the
Hotellerie-Restaurant-Café service from using table service for
their customers, has led the increasing home delivery options as
a possible solution for restaurants (Laguna et al., 2020). However,
this trend is likely to disappear once the emergency period will
end. However, the effect might depend on the time extension of
these measures, as reduced capacity would not be economically
viable for an extended period (Dube et al., 2020).
In general, the relational dimension of CRFS limited by the
crisis will likely be re-established or re-designed over time,
creating new interactive formats, and making it easier for all
actors to start working back on what CRFS initiatives consider
as their core value proposition.
Similarly, the home cooking trends, connecting more deeply
consumers and producers, will probably change once workers
will start getting back to their regular work shifts and workplaces
(Fernández-Aranda et al., 2020). Despite not leading to a long-
lasting positive modification of consumers eating habits, the
pandemic cooking pattern might influence the food consumption
vision for quite some time. Time availability and more simple
food planning and management (e.g., in most of the cases
all the meals were consumed at home by all the members of
the family) represented key drivers in reducing food waste.
However, although some of the new skills and habits might
remain, the return to the pre-COVID-19 working schedule
and lifestyle will probably limit the progresses obtained during
the lockdown.
In certain countries, the effects of COVID-19 on household
income and food security have been dramatic and were extended
to a rather large share of families (Power et al., 2020; The
Food Foundation, 2020). This was worsened by the changes
in children’s consumption patterns whose social programs and
school canteens were suspended. Parents with lower awareness
of healthy diets and less disposable time for cooking might
have offered a less virtuous alternative to school canteens, both
by reducing the attention to their children’s food care and by
offering them more packaged and ready-to-eat products. This
phenomenon did not only affect children’s diets but might have
contributed to higher consumption of foods featuring larger
environmental impacts and lower nutritional values.
Similarly, in some cases, new consumption behaviors also
produced further unintended environmental consequences,
depending on the type and amount of food purchased, as well as
the related packaging. The diffusion of food delivery and last-mile
emergency logistics might have resulted in increased pollution,
even though partially outpaced by lockdown traffic reduction.
Additionally all delivered food, required great amounts of
packaging materials, whose sustainable alternatives were often
too expensive to be adopted by small-scale activities.
As anticipated, according to individual priorities, these
immediate changes might be converted into long-term behavioral
trends, positively affecting people’s daily lives. Somewhat
consciously, people changed the perception of the food
systems, possibly giving higher importance to local networks
and adapting their shopping preferences to a new level of
awareness (Béné, 2020). Growing demand for environmentally
and socially ethical products has gone hand in hand with
higher awareness, and these jointly will boost local food
production and consumption (Hobbs, 2020). If such an intention
were properly sustained, the diffusion of proximity production
and distribution systems such as urban gardening and local
scale farming may encourage the implementation of shorter
food chains.
Long-Term Impacts
Considering long-term implications, lockdown trends also
showed an increase in the online demand for foods and
beverages. Once consumers have sunk the learning costs required
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Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
FIGURE 2 | Impacts on the European CRFS—Envisaged negative and positive outcomes cycles.
to adopt these types of food delivery and firms have adapted their
spaces and operations to these shifts, changes are likely to persist
well beyond the COVID-19, even though to a reduced extent.
If these digital accelerations can be seen as a virtuous
innovation phenomenon for the whole sector, such a rapid
transition may risk excluding smaller CRFS, ensuring major
benefits only for more consolidated structures (Belavina et al.,
2017; Arnalte-Mur et al., 2020). Moreover, smallholders may
already face larger difficulties in recovering from the economic
effects of the crisis, due to their lower business capacity.
The pandemic helped food stakeholders understanding the
importance of strategic and local partnerships, both to increase
their value and improve their ability to cope with possible
future crises. If correctly handled, this might entail a higher
number of cooperative initiatives, open innovation ecosystems,
and shared networks.
Given the increased time children spent at home and the
largest number of meals shared with the family, the lockdown
period could have raised parent’s awareness on the importance
of the daily meal, giving them more time to understand children
food habits, preferences, and food attitudes. Once school catering
started to re-open, such dedication might end up in an increased
parents’ involvement in food education activities and in the
design of school food quality, in terms of both food types
and producers’ selections. Food supply might be rethought,
taking advice on the economic impact its management has on
local farmers.
The COVID-19 outbreak and the related responses allow to
understand and evaluate the kind of possible and, indeed,
desirable reforms, from a systemic point of view. In many aspects,
bottom-up actions by producers and participatory consumer
proposals prove to be in line with the emerging European policy
agenda (EC, 2020), which indicates the commitment to address
food systems imbalances.
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Vittuari et al. Envisioning Future European Food Systems
To reinforce this perspective and improve resilience in food
supply chains local, national, and European governments should
consider to:
Encourage a diversification in food provision, including local
food production, as a mean for a more resilient supply
chain, promoting more substantial and innovative small-
scale production systems, whose social contribution has been
highlighted by the pandemic. The strategy might include
actions aimed at promoting the existence of local CRFS,
favoring investments into marketing and information and
communication technology use for those activities that are
lagging through. Examples include ad-hoc training, call for
actions, and public competition opportunities. In the long run,
this could help accelerate CRFS and improve competitiveness
with respect to more consolidated channels.
Promote open discussion tables and forums,
partnerships, and reciprocal learning to ensure cross-
pollination and best practices exchange among CRFS.
Besides facilitating reciprocal supports, this will help
increasing the bargaining power of CRFS initiatives,
making them more equipped against future time
of crisis.
Address schools as a central re-starting point. Involving
teachers, families, and students in the definition of sustainable
diet patterns, promoting food educational campaigns, and
responsible shopping choices can help to transform cheerful
consumer’s behavioral change into systemic and long-lasting
habits. To this scope, the provision of food in schools should
put those principles in effect and should be combined with
educational approaches on the community and territorial
services. Similarly, open-air educational projects as urban or
school vegetable gardens (Pennisi et al., 2020) can represent
promising alternatives.
Ensure that the development of policy tools include
evaluations on different sustainability dimensions of
the food chain. Given the evidence of the multifaceted
benefits delivered by food initiatives, it is crucial to make
sure all food values and attributes are considered when
making decisions.
The first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak emphasized the
need to establish new governance mechanisms engaging public
authorities, citizens, small and medium enterprises, and non-
profit organizations in the conceptualization and design of
new models for sustainable CRFS that deliver environmental,
societal, and economic benefits. The second wave of the
outbreak and the related lockdown measures will offer the
chance to assess whether previous adaptations resurfaced (in
case of short-term) or continued (in case of long-term) and
whether policies put in place to scale up beneficial transitions
were successful.
Further research commitment and stakeholders’
involvement should aim at unveiling the most urgent
questions, offering reasonable ground to drive the envisaged
food planning.
How new systemic organizational structure and policy
frameworks transforming the positive shifts into more
permanent and sustainable behaviors can be created? Which
type of measurements are needed to support a more holistic
and integrated view on food production, distribution, and
consumption to ensure equal importance at economic,
societal, and environmental needs? What should be the role of
government in this transition? The ability to make city/regions
more resilient will crucially depend on policy stakeholders’
commitment to prioritize these challenges in the local and global
sustainability agenda.
The original contributions generated for the study are included
in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be
directed to the corresponding author/s.
MV, GB, SB, FC, AM, FO, JP, MP, KS, and FD equally contributed
to the concept of the study, its framework, the coordination and
activities of subgroups, and writing of the manuscript. SA, A-MA,
TB, IB, ACo, ACr, ACu, RF-K, AG, AL, PM, EN, JP-F, GP, BP,
LR-D, IR, YR, VS-G, AS, SS, MdS, ST, PT, GT, BV, and GV equally
contributed to the activities of subgroups and the review of the
manuscript. All authors contributed to the article and approved
the submitted version.
The research leading to this publication has received funding
from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under grant agreement no. 862663. The
publication reflects the author’s views. The Research Executive
Agency (REA) is not liable for any use that may be made
of the information contained therein. This work was also
supported by and ERC Consolidator grant awarded to Gara
Villalba (818002-URBAG).
The authors would like to thank the following contributors for
their valuable inputs and feedbacks: Ilaria Braschi, Margherita
Del Prete, and Francesca Monticone from the University of
Bologna; Chiara Cirillo from the University of Naples Federico
II; Luuk Graamans from Wageningen University and Research.
The authors thank all partners in the FoodE consortium for
their collaboration.
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Conflict of Interest: A-MA was employed by company Hague Corporate Affairs.
ACo was employed by company Metabolic Institute. ACu was employed by
company Nabolagshager AS. ACr was employed by the company Flytech S.r.l. AG
was employed by company Asociatia Mai Bine. EN was employed by company
Nolde and Partner. SS was employed by company Tåsen Microgreens AS. MdS
was employed by company Organización de Productores de Túnidos y Pesca
Fresca de la Isla de Tenerife-ISLATUNA. GT was employed by company Urban
Beekeeping Society. BV was employed by company Polar Permaculture Solutions
The remaining authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of
any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential
conflict of interest.
Copyright © 2021 Vittuari, Bazzocchi, Blasioli, Cirone, Maggio, Orsini, Penca,
Petruzzelli, Specht, Amghar, Atanasov, Bastia, Bertocchi, Coudard, Crepaldi,
Curtis, Fox-Kämper, Gheorghica, Lelièvre, Muñoz, Nolde, Pascual-Fernández,
Pennisi, Pölling, Reynaud-Desmet, Righini, Rouphael, Saint-Ges, Samoggia,
Shaystej, da Silva, Toboso Chavero, Tonini, Trušnovec, Vidmar, Villalba and
De Menna. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution
or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s)
and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in
this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use,
distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems | 9March 2021 | Volume 5 | Article 642787
... In Asian countries, we have the study of Fan et al. (2021), who assessed the case of Asian countries with a special focus on a post-pandemic world and the possibility of future international shocks and disruptions, or Woertz (2020), who related the food self-sufficiency in Arab Gulf Countries with the inequalities in food availability, especially visible in the COVID-19 crisis. In the context of European territories, the perspective paper by Vittuari et al. (2021) reviewed the trends in production and consumption in several European cities during the first wave of COVID-19 and identified challenges and future strategies for research and innovation toward the creation of resilient and sustainable cityregion food systems (CRFSs). Along similar lines, a study by Meuwissen et al. (2021) assessed the impact of the COVID-19 in 11 farming systems in Europe, observing that even though they managed to cope with the special situation, transformative measures in the face of future pandemics are needed. ...
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of current food systems to feed populations around the world. Particularly in urban centers, consumers have been confronted with this vulnerability, highlighting reliance on just-in-time logistics, imports and distant primary production. Urban food demand, regional food supply, land use change, and transport strategies are considered key factors for reestablishing resilient landscapes as part of a sustainable food system. Improving the sustainability of food systems in such circumstances entails working on the interrelations between food supply and demand, rural and urban food commodity production sites, and groups of involved actors and consumers. Of special significance is the agricultural land in close proximity to urban centers. Calling for more holistic approaches in the sense of inclusiveness, food security, citizen involvement and ecological principles, this article describes the use of a new decision support tool, the Metropolitan Foodscape Planner (MFP). The MFP features up-to-date European datasets to assess the potential of current agricultural land use to provide food resources (with special attention to both plant- and animal-based products) and meet the demand of city dwellers, and help to empower citizens, innovators, companies, public authorities and other stakeholders of regional food systems to build a more regionalized food supply network. The tool was tested in the context of the food system of the Copenhagen City Region in two collaborative workshops, namely one workshop with stakeholders of the Copenhagen City Region representing food consultancies, local planning authorities and researchers, and one in-person workshop masterclass with MSc students from the University of Copenhagen. Workshop participants used the tool to learn about the impacts of the current food system at the regional and international level with regard to the demand-supply paradigm of city-regions. The ultimate goal was to develop a participatory mapping exercise and test three food system scenarios for a more regionalized and sustainable food system and, therefore, with increased resilience to crises. Results from this implementation also demonstrated the potential of the tool to identify food production sites at local level that are potentially able to feed the city region in a more sustainable, nutritious and way.
... The recent COVID-19 pandemic exposed poor working conditions for seasonal field workers and slaughterhouse workers and resulted in a public outcry and additional criticism of the dominant system (Aday and Aday 2020;Friedrich et al. 2021). Even though lockdown restrictions also affected local farmers in terms of interactions with their customers and workforce shortages (Benedek et al. 2021) and a (complete) system failure in terms of food provision did not occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people became more aware of grievances within the existing food system and the consequences of their food choices (Schoen et al. 2021;Vittuari et al. 2021). ...
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Opaque value chains as well as environmental, ethical and health issues and food scandals are decreasing consumer trust in conventional agriculture and the dominant food system. As a result, critical consumers are increasingly turning to community-supported agriculture (CSA) to reconnect with producers and food. CSA is often perceived as a more sustainable, localized mode of food production, providing transparent production or social interaction between consumers and producers. This enables consumers to observe where their food is coming from, which means CSA is considered suitable for building trust in food (production). However, it remains unclear how exactly members' trust in 'their' farmers is built. To determine the factors that predict members' trust in CSA and its farmers, and the importance of these factors when compared to each other, we conducted a quantitative study among CSA members in Germany and applied a multiple regression model (n = 790). The analysis revealed that trust in CSA and its farmers is influenced by "reputation", "supply of information", "direct social interaction" and the "duration of CSA membership". Other factors such as the "certification status of the CSA farm" and "attitudes toward organic certification" did not significantly predict trust. We conclude that producers' willingness to be transparent already signals trustworthiness to CSA members and is more important to members than formal signals. Other actors within the food system could learn from CSA principles and foster a transition toward a more regionalized value-based food system to help restore agriculture's integrity. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10460-022-10386-3.
... Other crucial points were that none of the buildings or infrastructure could be removed or modified due to urban planning issues, and that the funding already available for the project accounted for about € 70,000. The vision for a renewed Troisi Park was socially oriented and embraced the FoodE (Food Systems in European Cities) mindset: "Think global, eat local" (Pennisi, 2020;Vittuari et al., 2021). The foundational concept of AGRiS was sustainability, represented as the four pillars of sustainable development: environmental protection, economic viability, social equity and cultural enhancement. ...
Urban agriculture (UA) is sprouting up in the empty spaces of post-industrial landscapes. Beyond the opportunities toward improving local food supplies and economies, UA may also foster social inclusion and environmental sustainability. The project AGRiS, winner of the UrbanFarm2021 competition, was developed for Troisi Park in Naples (Italy), where an abandoned agricultural area of 0.5 ha needed renovation. Following a multi-disciplinary design approach, multifunctional UA was chosen to support the environmental, social, economic, and cultural well-being of the local community. To create a feasible and economically viable design solution, an incremental approach was proposed, based on a multi-criteria analysis to select the most preferable project scenario in which to invest the initial funding. The environmental impact of AGRiS was considered by assessing the energy demand, water usage and emissions associated with facility operations. Additionally, renewable energy sources, rainwater collection, and zero-waste strategies were integrated to minimize resource/material inputs and waste outputs. The design also incorporated sustainable crop production practices which promote biodiversity, such as crop rotation and intercropping, compost fertilization, recyclable growing-media, organic pest management and seed-to-seed cycles. Moreover, the architectural elements of the design were conceived from a circular-economy perspective and relied on the participation and feedback of the project stakeholders. The strong emphasis on feasibility and community involvement suggested that this UA project in Troisi Park is readily achievable and could also serve as a model for similar sites in need of regeneration.
... Urban Farm is an International Challenge funded within the EU H2020 Project Food Systems in European Cities (FoodE). Its objective is to promote the regeneration of neglected or vacant urban spaces through UA by embracing the FoodE mindset: "Think global, eat local" [16]. The Challenge asks participants to propose redesigning an abandoned agricultural area of 0.5 ha in Troisi Park in Naples. ...
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact worldwide by producing, especially in urban contexts, severe consequences not only in the healthcare field but also in socioeconomic terms with visible implications for food security. In this difficult context, Urban Agriculture (UA) stands as a valuable means to ensure social, environmental, and economic benefits for urban realities. Indeed, UA implementation’s multi-dimensional opportunities can also be read in terms of ecosystem services. However, despite this wide acknowledgment of UA’s multiple benefits, a gap exists between the number of policies already implemented to promote urban agriculture and the demand for these policies. The reasons for this gap can be found both in prejudice towards agriculture as a low-income activity, discouraging private investments, and in public administration’s reduced financial capacity.In this light, the paper proposes an evaluation approach based on a Sustainability Assessment to support agriculture-led implementation processes in urban spaces by dealing with financial constraints. This methodology is tested on the regeneration of Troisi Parks’ greenhouses in Naples, which have recently been the subject of the Urbanfarm design challenge within the EU H2020 FoodE Project.Thus, after describing the main features of the International Challenge and the project for Troisi Park, the paper delves into the application of the Sustainability Assessment to support Troisi Park’s regeneration. Finally, the opportunities stemming from such an evaluation approach to UA and its possible room for improvement are discussed.KeywordsUrban agricultureSustainability AssessmentEcosystem services
... This case study contributes to the growing body of literature on new food traditions (Boghossian 2017;Paxson 2016;Boulianne 2014), while also highlighting a part of the Irish food system that is developing methods of transaction and production praised as resilient in an uncertain, unstable food present (Vittuari et al. 2021). ...
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Conference Paper
Irish Farmhouse cheeses first appeared in the late 1970s, initially through restaurants and local shops (Milleens 2022, CAIS 2022). The growth of the number of farmhouse cheesemakers in Ireland from then until now, almost 50 fifty years later, results from movements of people, ideas, tastes and markets. This paper explores what movements shaped Irish farmhouse cheeses and what motivated farmhouse cheesemakers in Ireland to start and to sustain a business. Through a case study, it is learnt that EU accession is core to the development of Irish farmhouse cheeses and that their makers are diverse in motivation, as well as ideas of success. A motivation typology reveals a tension between the craft and the commercial aspects of the work, and between two crafts: dairying and cheesemaking. At the same time, high levels of cooperation and self-imposed limits to growth demonstrate that Irish farmhouse cheesemakers follow their own routes to success. This case study contributes to the growing body of literature on new food traditions (Boghossian 2017; Paxson 2016; Boulianne 2014), while also highlighting a part of the Irish food system that is developing methods of transaction and production praised as resilient in an uncertain, unstable food present (Vittuari et al. 2021).
This paper focuses on the research pathway related to the drafting of a strategic Agri-Food Plan of Rome. The paper highlights the theoretical background and investigates the strategic vision and actions, as well as the role played by the Covid-19 Pandemic by changing priorities. The merging between two strands of study is identified: urban food strategies and sustainability in the debate on post Covid-19 food planning studies and the analysis of local agri-food systems for economic development. This work shows that in the case of urban and metropolitan areas around the Mediterranean, agriculture, the cultural dimension of food, logistics, research and innovation, and tourism marketing can be included within a single planning and policy tool. In the case of Rome, the place-based approach allowed us to consider the specificities of social and spatial contexts with interactions of market drivers with public institutions. This approach may constitute a promising path of research for the future of sustainable planning, particularly in Mediterranean cities. The results have interesting policy implications that should be more explicitly considered in addressing urban agendas, and in particular, the role of food to promote local development by integrating economic, social, and environmental and spatial values at a regional scale.
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The resilience of the local food system is being underlined as one of the most important strategic goals for a sustainable future. However, since the question of what constitutes the local scale of food production depends largely on the type of product and supply chain, the associated foodshed can range from a site scale, city and city region up to wider region and country level. As a proof of concept whether functional urban areas (FUAs) can serve as references for local food systems, we provide evidence on their capacity to provide vegetarian diet supply to their residents. Applying the Metropolitan Foodshed and Self-Sufficiency Scenario (MFSS) model methodology we estimate the level of potential food self-sufficiency of the FUAs. We quantitatively compare the results for FUAs with the results of local planning documents of metropolitan areas. The approach is applied to 9 city regions representing different European countries: Wrocław (PL), Ostend (BE), Berlin (DE), Avignon (FR), Copenhagen (DK), Bari (IT), Brasov (RO), Athens (EL), Barcelona (ES). The results show that vegetarian and local food demand could be satisfied in first five FUAs of these city regions. However, if the same number of calories as current diet delivers is to be maintained only the first three FUAs have enough agricultural land to supply vegetarian ingredients to this diet. The results for metropolitan comparison return the same three cities plus Bari. We discuss the use of FUA in defining foodshed area and the role of consumers’ dietary choices in regional food self-sufficiency.
In Romania, the immediate effects of the pandemic have revealed a strain on food supply chains due to the limitations related to social distancing between producers/deliverers/consumers. The paper aims to identify and analyze the resilience of small farmers in southern Romania (i.e., Bucharest Metropolitan Area) to the new conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, the analysis focused on the COVID-19 pandemic pre-conditions, impacts and resilience, as well as the post-COVID-19 solutions - the medium- and long-term measures necessary to sustain the effort of the farmers to cope with risks and uncertainties in the future. The study shows a close connection between some pre-existing conditions and farms capacity to become resilient to the shocks caused by the pandemic. Hence, organic farms demonstrated the highest resilience, while leisure and recreational farms the lowest. The research has improved the existing knowledge on the sub-urban farmers as key players of metropolitan agriculture and promoters of sustainability and food security for cities and identified some elements of resilience during COVID-19: reconnecting with local food production, networking, door-to-door delivery, multi-functionality inside the farm, etc. Particularly, backing small farmers to meet market requirements and access digital marketing are among the key measures to support local food systems and short food supply chains to adapt to future shocks.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly disrupted the household behavior in all areas and also those related to eating and daily food. Research carried out shows there have been significant changes compared to pre-COVID levels in the way consumers plan their food purchases. Based on the results of empirical data and emerging information such as ad hoc reports and analysis of academic literature, the authors aim to understand the effect of COVID-19 on agricultural and extra-agricultural activities in diversified Italian farms. More specifically, due to their importance at a national level, the focus of the analysis is represented by the agritourism, how they have reacted to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and towards which evolutionary lines they are orienting themselves to face the next future challenges. Empirical data for this study were collected through the use of a questionnaire survey, managed by the research team. The survey, conducted online during summer 2021, was designed by using a random stratified sampling for which the farms are characterized by a certain heterogeneity of the activities carried out (i.e., hospitality, processing of products, renewable energy production, etc.). The research activity covered the entire Italian territory and the number of responding farms with agritourism activities is equal to 77 (a 17.5% response rate). The results highlight the importance of farm with agritourism activities in dealing with COVID-19 crisis and policy implications in terms of support for the competitiveness of farms, exchange of knowledge, and innovations among farmers that should be taken into consideration to target the next rural development policy at the EU, the national and regional level. At the same time, the sample reaction methods to the pandemic and the changing business strategies highlight a certain resilience of Italian farms with agritourism activities, thus showing their ability to adapt.
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The capacity of the food system to respond to the economic, demographic and environmental challenges ahead has become a topic of increasing interest, with particular attention to the roles and responsibilities of the different actors to ensure more sustainable food systems that can guarantee food and nutrition security for all. In this paper we approach the need to better understand the factors that can condition the potential contribution of small farms to regional food and nutrition security in Europe, acknowledging the role that small farms play in Europe at present. The analysis is based on a survey to 94 experts from 17 regions (NUTS3 level) in 11 different European countries, which identified the drivers of change according to the regional experts. These drivers were then categorized and their relative relevance assessed. The results indicate that some relevant drivers in the European context are linked to the capacity to adopt technologies and practices allowing adaptation to climate change, and the capacity to connect to food markets, with emphasis in the need for cooperation and collective action. The weight of other more European-specific drivers such as ‘consumer values and habits’ reveal that the future role of small farms will be very dependent on a societal change, with equity becoming a relevant component of consumers’ choice.
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COVID-19 poses acute threats to food security. The worst of these arise from the global recession that is causing many to lose their incomes and threatens the access of many vulnerable people to the food they need. Other threats arise from disruptions in agricultural input markets, production, marketing, and distribution of food. To avoid major food crises, governments of poor and rich nations should both focus on income support to protect food access for the most vulnerable, enact social distancing in innovative ways to avoid supply chain disruptions, and facilitate food trade and movement of food-sector workers.
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The objective of this review is to explore and discuss the concept of local food system resilience in light of the disruptions brought to those systems by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion, which focuses on low and middle income countries, considers also the other shocks and stressors that generally affect local food systems and their actors in those countries (weather-related, economic, political or social disturbances). The review of existing (mainly grey or media-based) accounts on COVID-19 suggests that, with the exception of those who lost members of their family to the virus, as per June 2020 the main impact of the pandemic derives mainly from the lockdown and mobility restrictions imposed by national/local governments, and the consequence that the subsequent loss of income and purchasing power has on people’s food security, in particular the poor. The paper then uses the most prominent advances made recently in the literature on household resilience in the context of food security and humanitarian crises to identify a series of lessons that can be used to improve our understanding of food system resilience and its link to food security in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and other shocks. Those lessons include principles about the measurement of food system resilience and suggestions about the types of interventions that could potentially strengthen the abilities of actors (including policy makers) to respond more appropriately to adverse events affecting food systems in the future.
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The COVID-19 emergency has revealed the extreme fragility of large cities to unexpected complex global risks and crises. City lockdown has led to increasing awareness of the vital importance of food availability for citizens. The combined effect of border closure and movement restrictions increased food losses and export costs, especially for vegetables and perishable goods exposing non-self-sufficient countries. We claim the idea that urban agriculture in developed countries should be fostered with emerging growing practices and edible green infrastructures, such as vertical farming, hydroponics, aeroponic, aquaponic, and rooftop greenhouses. Notwithstanding the limitations of traditional urban farming activities, innovative and disruptive solutions and short food supply chains of fresh agricultural products might play a positive role in lessening uncertainties from global systemic risks.
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Background The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a new era in the world while we still figure out the consequences in different aspects of our daily life. The food supply chain and the food industry do not comprise an exception. Scope and approach This review summarizes the possible transmission ways of COVID-19 through the foods, food supply chain, surfaces, and environment before exploring the development of corresponding detection tools of SARS-CoV-2. For the time being, the possibility of transmission through the food sector is considered negligible, and tracing of SARS-CoV-2 in working environments is not considered as a priority by public authorities. However, the adverse effects on the environment, food systems, and people along the food supply chain are already evident. Key findings and conclusions As long as we move from farm to fork, more safety measures are needed since more people (and subsequently more potential sources of infection) are involved in the process. The need for developing respective bioanalytical protocols for food and environmental safety applications to adapt in the post-lockdown period is also highlighted.
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The aim of this study was to evaluate whether dietary behaviours of the Spanish adult population were changed during the COVID-19 outbreak confinement. For that purpose, an online questionnaire, based on 44 items including socio-demographic data, Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) Adherence Screener (MEDAS) as a reference of a healthy diet, processed foods intake, changes in their usual food choices and weight gain was distributed using social media and snowball sampling. A total of 7514 participants (37% aged below 35 years, 70.6% female, 77.9% university-level education or higher) from all the Spanish territory completed the questionnaire. Results outlined healthier dietary behaviours during the confinement when compared to previous habits. Overall, the MEDAS score (ranging from 0 to 14, whereby higher a scoring reflects greater adherence to the MedDiet) increased significantly from 6.53 ± 2 to 7.34 ± 1.93 during the confinement. Multivariate logistic regression models, adjusted for age, gender, region and other variables, showed a statistically significant higher likelihood of changing the adherence to the MedDiet (towards an increase in adherence) in those persons who decreased the intake of fried foods, snacks, fast foods, red meat, pastries or sweet beverages, but increased MedDiet-related foods such as olive oil, vegetables, fruits or legumes during the confinement. COVID-19 confinement in Spain has led to the adoption of healthier dietary habits/behaviours in the studied population, as reflected by a higher adherence to the MedDiet. This improvement, if sustained in the long-term, could have a positive impact on the prevention of chronic diseases and COVID-19-related complications.
This preliminary study describes the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on people’s interests, opinions, and behaviour towards food. Here, the evolution of people’s internet searches, the characteristics of the most watched YouTube videos, and Tweeted messages in relation to COVID-19 and food was studied. Additionally, an online questionnaire (Spanish population, n = 362) studied changes in food shopping habits during the lockdown, motivations behind the changes, and perceived reliability of the information received from media. Results showed initial trending searches and most watched YouTube videos were about understanding what COVID-19 is and how the illness can progress and spread. When the official statement of a pandemic was released, trending searches in relation to food and shopping increased. Data retrieved from Twitter also showed an evolution from shopping concerns to the feeling of uncertainty for the oncoming crisis. The answers to the online questionnaire showed reduction of shopping frequency but no changes in shopping location. Products purchased with higher frequency were pasta and vegetables (health motivations), others were purchased to improve their mood (nuts, cheese, and chocolates). Reduced purchasing was attributed to products with a short shelf-life (fish, seafood) or because they were unhealthy and contributed to gained body weight (sugary bakery goods) or mood (desserts). Statements made by experts or scientists were considered by consumers to be the most reliable.
The restaurant and hospitality industries are crucial socio-economic sectors that contribute immensely to the global economy. However, these sectors are vulnerable and sensitive to natural hazards such as the COVID-19 pandemic and any resultant economic downturns. This study investigates the impact of COVID-19 on the global restaurant industry using data from OpenTable and other sources. The study found that sit-in guests dropped to zero in many countries as governments across the world instituted social distancing initiatives, movement restrictions and lockdowns. COVID-19 also led to an unprecedented loss of employment and revenue, resulting in millions of jobs and billions of dollars in potential revenue lost. The work recommends extra-ordinary financial and other support measures for the sector. It further recommends a raft of safety and health protocols as the industry gradually reopens.